7 Experts Share What it Takes to Be a Successful Farmer

Every success comes after one has put in either work, money or any other efforts from partners interested in the particular work. In the words of 6 successful farming experts, below are tips that boost your farming success.

“Engaging credible qualified experts like agronomists, investing in research and modern technologies like drip irrigation systems and visiting lots of farms to gain experience,” Eric Onchonga, CEO Irrigation Hub Kenya. 

Victor Mugo’s experience not only inspires but also shares tips on how farmers can keep on growing in their niches. “I had tried small scale farming for 2 years with no avail until I learnt of two  game changing nuggets. First, is to treat your farming activities as a business and moving your farm into a firm. In this, I had to learn how to professionalize my agribusiness by planning ahead, managing finances and employees and by seeking stable markets even before I grew my high iron beans crop.”

Now let us learn tips that can help you achieve your success as a farmer. 

1 … Understand your Product, Client and Market 

If you don’t do your research on greenhouse tomato farming and ignore working with agronomists and any other experts in greenhouse farming, you are only glaring at your peril. 

Understanding your product helps you know the amount of time, money and efforts to invest in the project. Don’t get into agribusiness because the other person has made it in tomato farming. Invest in it because you understand what the whole process requires. 

Never ignore your market. Customers are the reason why you are in that agribusiness. At the end of the day, you will need a market for your produce or services. Which gap are you fixing in the market? Where is your market located? How can you reach them? 

“I always know that the future billionaires will come from farming ,that being said ,I like being a step ahead so that I can be a solution provider to the farmers who come after me,” Lucy Wangari, Onion Doctor.

Additionally, have market intelligence or forecast. Constantly use research to predict future customer behaviours. Think about this, how does oversupply of a farm product affect you?

“A successful farmer is one who has more control of the value chain.” Farmer on Fire 

2 …Be part of a farming community 

More often, farmers ignore the power of communities. Being on digital or offline platforms with farmers is a plus but being part of it means you are constantly engaging them, showing up and creating healthy relationships with community members. 

Communities bring people with similar interests together to share, learn and also an opportunity to create room for partnership and future referrals. 

For instance, these are digital communities you should be part of as a farmer:

Twitter – Tweet Chats e.g #Agri4Value #ChatAboutFarming #UkulimaSioUshamba, #AgribusinessTalk254, #AnziaSokoni just to mention a few. Always check what the community members are sharing and engage with them. 

“Agricultural entrepreneurship can be a very lonely and difficult journey. So, I found this agripreneur platform,  Nourishing Africa which turns out to be a breeding ground for close relationships with other agri-food entrepreneurs and from where one can gain new knowledge and information. From this information, I have now learnt how to make more informed decisions on properly structuring my agribusiness,” says Victor Mugo. 

3 …Tell Your Story, Experiences or Testimonial

In a Twitter Chat with Caleb Karuga he said, “After losing 800 chicken in a span of two weeks, I decided to share my experience. This encouraged others not to give up. I’ve continued to share opportunities available in the agriculture value chain, with focus on the Business of Agriculture.” You can also read tips to create leads and sales as a farmer as shared by Caleb in the Twitter Chat.

Your farming experience shared to other farmers and non-farmers can inspire them to invest more in the sector. Telling your story inspires young farmers. Use available platforms to share the stories.

4 …Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Mistakes are part of life. We learn from them. Don’t be afraid to try out strategies you aren’t sure of. Try them first. Many times, our customers are the ones who recognize our mistakes. They criticize us but at the end of the day, we learn what to do better through experience. 

As much as you can make mistakes, don’t do them deliberately. Work closely with experts to guide you. 

Patience and zeal to farm different types of crop and consistency on production have made me become the kind of farmer l am. Willing to learn and share information with other farmers has also played a vital role in my success story. ~Patrick, Kabete Organic Gardens

5 …Have a Mentor or Coach

Learning never stops. Farming is a field that one needs to constantly learn. You can have as many mentors as you can, as long as you are picking something worthwhile from their sharing and experiences. 

6 …Keep in Mind of Emerging Trends in Farming

Who ever thought digital platforms such as social media, blogs, webinars and applications will be powerful tools for farmers? Since Covid19 pandemic, every business has been pivoting to ensure they are still in operation and digital has been an amazing space to keep farmers, clients and customers connected. 

Other emerging trends to be aware of:

  • Agritechnology
  • New types of small space farming such as hydroponics and upward farming
  • Farm marketing and selling 

“In this never-ending science, I have learned that practical experience is an essential qualification. To be successful, I have learned a great deal of my land and how to take care of my fruits (apples). In addition, having a sense of business, being able to sell when and where it’s more profitable, makes me take advantage of the most favorable markets for my crops.” ~ Ezra Muinde. 

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